Spotify vs Apple Music: Which Streaming Service Is Better?

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Spotify invented the music streaming business, and has amassed more than 100 million paying subscribers. It has a total of more than 220 million users. Apple Music is another dominant player in the streaming market. It had more than 50 million subscribers at the end of 2018. You’d want to use only one music streaming service. So, which one would you choose? This Spotify vs Apple Music comparison could help you make that decision.

Availability across devices

Both streaming services are available on Android as well as iOS devices. They also offer dedicated apps for Mac and Windows computers. If you don’t have the desktop app, Spotify allows you to listen to music via your web browser by going to Apple Music doesn’t have an equivalent, though it does have a web widget.

Apple Music users can access the service on computers through iTunes. Spotify’s apps for Mac and Windows are easier to navigate than iTunes. However, the Spotify app for iOS cannot merge locally stored music with your Spotify library, something which Apple Music does easily.

Both of them allow you to stream audio to a wireless speaker via Bluetooth. The Apple Music with Siri control is compatible with Apple’s own HomePod as well as Amazon’s Echo smart speakers through Alexa voice assistant. You can also access Apple Music on Apple TV and Apple Watch.

Using Siri to control music on Spotify is not as smooth because you have to rely on Siri Shortcuts. It’s easier to stream music to your HomePod speaker from another device running the Spotify app. Spotify is supported by Amazon’s Alexa smart speakers as well as Google’s smart speakers. What’s more, Spotify also supports game consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.

Apple Music works with both Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto, so does Spotify. Google Maps allows you to control music playback on both Apple Music and Spotify right from the navigation interface on Android and iOS devices.

Spotify vs Apple Music: User interface

The interface on both Apple Music and Spotify is easy to navigate. Apple Music has a plain white look while its rival has a uniform black interface. Apple has organized the Music app’s interface into tabs to let you quickly browse through your catalog, access the library, listen to radio, or check out recommendations. The interface on Spotify is similar.

They both let you share, add to playlist, queue songs, and perform other functions. Both apps allow you to look at lyrics if a song has the lyrics available.

Both of them let you follow your favorite artists and friends. You can share playlists with your friends, assuming they are also subscribers to the same service. Users can also share links to songs via social media and text messages. Spotify’s desktop app allows you to see what songs your friends are listening – in real time.

Streaming quality

Apple Music uses the AAC format while Spotify uses the Ogg Vorbis format. Apple’s service streams music at 256Kbps. Spotify allows you to choose the bitrate for streaming from four different options of 24Kbps, 96Kbps, 160Kbps, and 320Kbps. The ability to choose bitrates comes handy for people who don’t want to spend a lot of cellular data.

Unless you are a hardcore audiophile with the best quality headphones, you are not going to notice the difference between the highest quality streams on either service. When using Spotify via Chromecast or web browser, it streams in AAC format at 256Kbps for premium users and 128Kbps for free users.

Spotify vs Apple Music: Subscription plans

Apple offers new users three months of free trial for its premium service. Unless you cancel the subscription before the trial period is over, it will automatically convert to a paid membership. The paid membership costs $5 per month for students and $10 per month for individual users. It also has a $15 per month family plan, which allows up to six family members to access the service using a personal account for each member. What’s more, the members can also share iTunes purchases.

Spotify has an ad-supported, free plan that allows you to shuffle-play songs. Though you’ll be bombarded with ads from time to time, it’s a good plan for people who want to enjoy music without paying. However, it doesn’t have the premium features and it gives you only six skips per hour. For free users, Apple Music allows streaming of only Beats1 radio.

Spotify also offers a free trial of its Premium plan for three months. But it’s not exactly free because you have to pay $0.99 for three months of “free” trial. Just like Apple Music, its Premium plan costs $5 per month for students and $10 per month for individual users. It also has a family plan for $15 per month. The Premium plan lets users stream any song and download music for offline playback.

Spotify’s plan for students gives to access to Hulu TV’s ad-supported plan and unlimited access to Showtime streaming service.

Spotify vs Apple Music: Music library

The paid plans of both streaming services give you access to a catalog of 50 million songs. If you want to listen to music offline, Apple Music lets you download up to 100,000 songs to your library. You can easily sync the library to different devices using the iCloud Music Library. The iCloud Music Library matches the songs in your library with that in your iTunes catalog. If a song is missing, it will automatically upload them.

Spotify allows its premium members to download up to 10,000 songs. If you have different devices, you can download 10,000 songs on each of them. Offline listening on both services includes not only songs but also videos and concerts. Spotify also gives you access to podcasts and audiobooks.

Music discovery

Both the services do a pretty good job to help you find new music based on your taste. Apple Music has a For You section that is populated with new releases and playlists. It also has a Radio tab with curated music stations based on your favorite artists and genres. It also gives you access to Beats1 radio station, which offers 24/7 live radio.

On Spotify, it’s the Home screen that offers personalization. It has playlists like Release Radar and Discover Weekly. The Daily Mix playlist includes artists and tracks from a specific genre that you like listening to. Spotify also has a Radio section, which is a great tool for music discovery.

The two services are similar in most aspects. There are only minor differences. If you want to listen to free music (with ads), Spotify is the service for you. If you are deep into the Apple ecosystem, Apple Music could be a better choice for you as it allows you to import your existing iTunes music library. But Spotify is much better at music discovery and recommendations.

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